2017 1/2

June 30, 2017
Local to me is probably different than to you.
When you see local foods, how far away does that mean it traveled.

My Take
One of the most influential books in the farm to table arena is Michael Pollands book, Omnivore’s Dilemma. I know many farmers and healthy eaters who have made changes to their diet and life style after reading this book. It was not my first read, nor the book that turned me into a farmer, but I would highly recommend taking a look at it. The audio version is also available online for those who like listening more. While writing the book Michael found and  became fascinated with a farmer who I look up to, Joel Salatin. Polyface Farms is a huge farm to table operation out in Virginia. In one of the conversations between the two, Michael asked Joel if he could get a whole chicken mailed out to his home so he could give his food a try. It was at that moment that Michael realized how serious Joel was about keeping food local. Joel calls this his food shed and believes that you should be able to drive to where your food was grown and back home with in a day. So my interpretation of that would be about four hours or so away from home. That is the overall consensus in the food industry as well. It is not defined anywhere or in any government regulation, thank goodness.
Here in Wisconsin we have all four seasons and they can be long and drawn out. To eat local here might be more difficult than in LA or Miami, but it’s absolutely feasible.
The trick in any climate is to eat seasonally. This is high tide in salad season. Ive been eating them like they are going out of style. This also means that in winter we need to eat stored foods. So in the next few months I will be canning up a storm and freezing some extras too. This type of eating habit is not so normal and I understand that. If you haven’t canned before and want to learn. Emily and I are going to have a Canning event later this summer to share how.
The G Farm is very Local. I would say that the far reaches of product distribution do not extend beyond Chicago. I have travelers that will stop by on the way up north and over to Waupaca to pick up a cooler full of farm raised goods. The main distribution is supper local and does not extend beyond the Fox Valley. And to be more specific, Appleton and Neenah do a bulk of that ordering.
Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin

Thank You
Farmer Justin

June 23, 2017
What a Pile.

During my very first event here on the farm someone had asked me a question that stuck out above all others. Where is your compost pile?

Welcome to the G Farm barn bash.
The summer after I had purchased the farm I decided to put together a little party to celebrate the transition from the office world onto the land. It was October, right around my birthday, I had invited friends, family and some other folks that were interested in my transition. Thank you if you were there and are still following my progress today. Looking back things have moved along quite fast and we don’t see any end in sight.

During the my discussions and plan sharing someone had asked to see the compost pile. This kind of stuff takes time and I hadn’t gotten to far into that process yet, but today is a different story. The composting area is one of the cornerstones to the future success of the land. In recycling organic material for nutrition as opposed to conventional methods, I have to work diligently to turn and process the material.

My method is quite simple. I accumulate every waste product on the farm and add it to the compost pile. I start the rotation by filling up a space furthest to the left in my designated compost area. Most of the material is cow manure mixed with hay from the barn. This last winter the cattle were overwintered out in a field eating round bales from January to the middle of March. At that point they returned to the sacrifice area by the barn and ate from the barn until the ground firmed up. It’s a lot easier on me when a cow pie is dropped in the field than in the barn. The extra time and effort to move it from the barn to the compost pile is not particularly a fun job.  In late April, the cows move to the pasture and begin eating green mater. The pigs are then moved into the barn to start composting and mixing the manure and hay that was left behind by the cows. The pigs will find little kernels of corn that have been fermenting in the manure from the beginning of winter. If you are wondering why the pigs here are so happy, it may be because of these little alcohol treats they find when they arrive here!

When the pigs have turned the manure and hay and eaten all the corn from the barn, they get moved out onto pasture as well. I have learned that it is easier to touch the poo once; pick it up and drop it into the bucket loader on the tractor. When it fills up I haul the manure right over to the compost pile and drop it on top. Last year I filled up the back of my little pickup truck and had to fork it out of the truck. That took too much effort.
At this point the magic has started. A few of the basic insights into my plan is to keep the pile aerobic. To do that I start the bottom of the pile with a little bit of brush. Sticks and branches will keep the rain from turning the pile into a stinky anaerobic mess. This is why the lagoons at a conventional farm smell so foul. The lack of air in the manure lagoon is a basic problem that I see with this system.

I literally throw everything into the pile. Green waste, weeds, the hay that I use to help insulate my old farm house over winter, sticks and branches that fall from old trees, the house compost, the remains from the on farm butchering and small animals that don’t make it past their first week due to cool conditions or other ailments. One special ingredient I add to get the microbial creatures going is healthy organic mater. I had purchased some trees from a few nurseries that came with a little bit of soil from their farm. Just sprinkling some of that to the pile adds life to it and helps break down the waste better. I could also go into the woods and collect a few cups of topsoil from a few spots under some old trees.

Literally everything that will break down is added to the compost pile. As soon as the pile mass exceeds about one cubic yard the pile will begin heating up. I’m not measuring it but it gets warm, between 150 and 170 degrees. In the next week or so the barn will be completely cleaned out. I will begin the first turn of the pile and over the summer it will get turned a total of 5 times, moving a little farther to the right each move. After the pile is moved once, the next seasons pile will start right where this last years pile began on the left hand side.

We use this compost on farm to help the garden and nursery plants grow. We use it to start the seed flats for the garden and fill up the potted plants that will be going out onto pasture. There are a few off farm products I have used and would use again like a compost tea or fish inoculate to help give the soil a little boost. If you are looking for some good compost here in the Fox Valley one place I would recommend is Peterson’s Dairy just north of Appleton. I have purchased several loads of their compost for the garden in the past and felt they did a reasonable job.

If you have any questions pertaining to composting on the farm, feel free to send me a message and find out. I hope to keep you informed as to how the systems here on the farm function and keep us healthy and free of unnecessary chemicals.

Farmer Justin

June 16, 2017
I don’t know how you do it!

As most of you know, I work full time at a local computer recycling company Monday though Friday. One of my co-workers recently let me know that my plate looks full and is impressed how I keep it all together.

My typical week.
I am going to take you through one of my weeks to share with you how it goes down.

Monday though Friday I work from 7am until 3pm. This means I wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 am to get after it. I start my morning by doing a few chores. To start I move the cows to a new paddock. I move a single strain electro poly wire set up on a reel between two permanent fences. I use two of these reels at any one time to keep the cattle in their paddock. I have to move the water which is a 25 gallon tank hooked up to a permanent hose that goes around the entire farm. This can take between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on how far the move is and how cooperative the cows are. Next, I have to feed the pigs, rabbits, turkey and pastured birds. The pigs are moved once a week in a 4 paddock rotation. The pastured chicken are kept in a Joel Salatin style 10×12 foot pen and are moved to a new spot each day. I use a few specialized dollies to move the pen around the pasture. Lastly, I water the greenhouse and set the timers for the drip irrigation in the gardens.

At this point I am ready to eat some breakfast. More often than not I cook up a half dozen eggs and add some bacon, sausage or vegetables from the garden to keep it interesting. I pack up a lunch and head to the day job. I put in my 8 hours there then head back to the farm.

I try to keep a schedule but weather and immediate needs change plans from time to time. Mondays are dedicated to the garden. We plant, harvest, weed and package the produce. There is usually one additional day that gets a heavy portion of work put into the garden each week as well. Tuesdays are filled with deliveries, errands and desk work. I write this email and do my best to keep up with the paperwork pile that I cant find the bottom of today. Wednesdays and Thursdays are a project day.

There is always something that needs to be worked on to help streamline and simplify the Farm. Fridays can sometimes be a garden day and sometimes a project day, but to keep at the grinding wheel gets me to where I want to go.

I turn in most nights between 10 and 11pm. You rarely find me sitting down at a TV, but I do have an eye for some professional sports from time to time. I love the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Badgers. So when they air an important game on TV, I try to get in a little r&r.

Although I don’t live for the weekends, they are my favorite as I’m able to spend a full day doing what I love. Chores are usually a bit drawn out. I move the pigs, which takes a little extra time, I fill up the chicken water, clean up the rabbit manure, those sort of things. While the farm store is open I keep busy, usually near the barn and around the house to keep an eye on customers as they visit. After lunch I consider it project time again. This past week I baled hay during project time. It took one evening to cut and all of Saturday to rake, bale and put away. Sundays are similar. This past Sunday I took a break from the farm to go help a friend who asked for a hand. He has a farm, too, so guess what I was doing all afternoon… Hauling mulch to help him in his garden. At this point it’s hard to deny that I’m all in and submersed in the culture of Farming. I do my best to give and share time with those that are close to me; however, they understand that the job is seasonal and it’s better to find me between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanks for supporting local farmers and remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin

Farmer Justin

The Pastured pigs

I had one heck of a time training the pigs to electro netting fence. But they are down in the pasture and are enjoying their time in the sun. This is one of the innovations I’ve found that is making my life easier. The pig water is just hooked up to a hose and gives them water on demand.

The 2017 CSA

A special thanks to those that have decided to participate in the Community Supported Agriculture here from the farm. We look forward to sharing the bounty of harvest as we continue to grow healthy vegetables for you and your family.

May 31, 2017
Help comes in many ways.

Some people prefer Instagram and others like Facebook. I personally enjoy sharing what I’m up to on Instagram with a picture. However, these both have limited reach. When I share something, so many of the farm followers don’t even get to see what’s going on or what updates there are to share. That’s why my all around favorite is the weekly email.

How you can Help with a few clicks.
If you have a moment, please forward this email to a few friends who might be happy to see a local farmer on a small farm, grow and regenerate the land. We are currently raising cows, pigs, chicken, turkey and rabbits, while growing a large market garden and selling directly to families in the Fox Valley. Please let them know they have a local, healthy choice, and a dedicated farmer who delivers directly to their door. We are happy to accommodate your individual needs.
If this found it’s way to a new reader, please go to the website and sign up for our weekly email. I create original content and share how the farm is being managed. This is a great way to keep up with the farm progress and when you can participate in the occasional farm events. I will not share your email address with anyone for any reason. You will only receive one email a week, which are brief and to the point. I hope that you follow along!
Thank You,
Farmer Justin

Farm stand is open!

The farm stand is right behind Antlers Bar in Winchester. The stand will be open from this point to Halloween. Stop by and pick up some fresh local produce and tomato plants to plant in your home garden.

On farm store open Saturdays and Sundays!

Each weekend from 9 am until 1 pm this farmer is open for business and happy to share where your food is coming from. I often have time to show you around a bit and take you to some of the animals for a little show and tell. I look forward to meeting each of you.

May 24, 2017
Online ordering is that easy!

Amazon.com is an ever-growing business that may soon take over the world. They are doing something right in order to make it to become Walmart’s largest competitor. Well, I’m trying to take a page right out of their book. I want to make convenience a standard in ordering directly from your farmer. I want you and your family to be eating healthily each and every week. I want you to know the whos, whys and whats in the production model that the farm is using to grow your food. And you don’t even need to roll out of bed to do it!

Here’s what you need to do.
1) Go to the online shop at www.theg.farm/shop and see what items fit your diet and pallet.
2) Add the items to your cart. If an item is not able to go into your cart, it is currently out of stock.
3) When you have added your desired products you can begin the check out procedure. This is the hard part as I have several options here to tailor the process for different needs.

PayPal – This is a very secure and well respected ecommerce payment method. It is convenient for both yourself and the farmer. The only downfall is that the payment is going to be slightly above the actual price of the goods. I will do my absolute best to bring you goods close to the payment sent.

Shopify – This website is the backbone of The G Farms ecommerce. It allows me to keep inventory with ease and the online shop. They have their own payment system and I personally trust it as well.

Cash on delivery – This option allows you to pay the exact amount of balance for your product. You do need to be home for this option or able to leave the payment in your cooler for me when I drop it off.

The best part of the whole deal is that the following Tuesday, I will bring the goods right to your door with any order over 50 dollars. If you have other special instructions send me an email and I will follow up with you. You can also pick them up during store hours, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 1. This is time I set aside to introduce you to the farm and share my vision of how we are regenerating this once derogated farmland.

Give me a call if you ever have a question on any product, farming methods or delivery service. I will be happy to explain more thoroughly. The experience of knowing your farmer is unique in this culture and with your support I will be here for years to come.

Thanks for all of your continued support,
Farmer Justin

May 17, 2017
Where do you stand?

Like so many complicated issues, there is not necessarily a black and white with GMO’s. There are so many points so consider. Today we are going to discuss some of the grey area to help you find your own context.

GMO’s a Four Letter Word
Over the last few weeks I’ve come across a few podcasts discussing the modification of food and the growing practices that take place after those modifications. GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This can be done in many ways. Transgenic, Cisgenic, Crossbreed, inter species and across species.
One of the first points that caught my attention was that 90 percent of the herbicides and pesticides we consume are derived from fruits and vegetables. I can attest to the overwhelming amount of work it is to pull out weeds by hand in a garden. It’s difficult to imagine that a mega farm producing hundreds of acres of vegetables would hire enough workers to keep the weeds at bay. The least expensive and least time prohibitive practice is to spray. In order to do this without killing all of the vegetable, they need to have a strain of plant that is tolerant to the spray application. This is where the modification is taking place. 30 years ago when Monsanto’s began its work on creating GMO corn, scientists had recommended farmers use it as a weed suppressor (24d) only spraying on a field each third year. This would kill and keep excessive weeds at bay. If you mix a little cooperate greed, laziness, propaganda and desirable yield for a farmer, easy street seems to be a bit compelling.
In order to change the paradigm away from spraying is to simply purchase food that is clean. One food that is overwhelmingly on its way to being a chemical free food is greens. About 25 to 30 percent of leafy greens and upwards of 40 percent baby greens at a store are produced without sprays. Once an industry hits 15 percent of a market share, it is considered a scalable enterprise. An example of an industry that is not moving in an organic direction as quickly as it could is apple orchards. The average apple out of the store has nearly 5 pesticide residues on it. #eatuglyapples

When is the last time you had a watermelon with seeds? This is a form of Genetic engineering that duplicates chromosomes of the plant and causes a genetic mutation that stops the seed production. Some of the foods of the future will be a non browning potato and apple. Can you imagine an apple that is cut, put back on the table and hours later look as fresh as when you first cut it. With limitless possibilities, where does it end, and does it need to if its tasting better, looking better and growing in conditions it otherwise was not able to? Clearly the choice is yours.
When a family moves away from conventional food over to an organic, most of the time it is due to a pregnancy or new little family member. The choice is made by the newly nursing mother, and for good reason. The early stages of life are critical in forming the baby’s body and brain.
The G Farm practices a holistic management system and does not produce GMOs. I can’t do everything here myself. I feed the pigs and chicken corn as part of their diet. I choose to buy from a local farmer who I know directly. He does use some pesticides and mills the feed up for the animals, and I pick it up as needed. The current feed source is working well for me and the farm. However, I hope to be milling feed on the farm where I have more control over each of the ingredients and the recipe itself. I’m not willing to limit my capabilities by something I ultimately can change going forward as I learn and build relationships with other local farmers.
Emily and I are proud to garden without any additives, just a sweaty brow and a smile on our healthy faces.

Farmer Justin

The Big Garden

This years garden is a bit larger than last year. We are streamlining the production and moving more to a row system, where we can irrigate and rotate in a more efficient manor. We are using recycled burlap bags from a local coffee roaster and mulch from a local landscaping company. I know there have been several of you who have looked at participating in the Work Share. Email me for additional details and I will be happy to add you to our mailing list for days we can use an extra hand.

Mark The Beekeeper

Last fall I put out a call for others to join the farm and add to its production. Mark took a giant step into farming by purchasing and starting his own colony of bees. This week was a big week for him placing his two hives on the property. We look forward to benefiting from each others work. Congratulations Mark!

May 10, 2017


The third spring on the farm is underway! I have learned from past seasons that I’ve had a difficult time with some animals and some that have been much easier. Some of the headaches like fencing or other structural projects have come a long way in making the management of the animals much easier. And just when I start to get comfortable, bam, like a flash flood, I hop out my comfort zone and give something else a try!

What’s going on over there?
I can’t just keep adding, sometimes I do addition by subtraction. This year I am going to drop ducks from the list. The size of the pond makes it very difficult to manage ducks effectively. I had spent to many mornings searching for duck eggs and eventually gave up on that and solely depended on them for meat production.
Rabbits are a healthy and relatively easy animal to bring onto the farm. They do a great job eating grass, they are tasty and their manure is good on the garden. It can go directly onto the garden, this is called a cold manure. Hot manures like chicken pigs and cows must be composted. These highly productive animals breed like well… rabbits.
The seller was very knowledgeable and helpful in setting me in a good direction. I have two breed does and a trio of New Zealand Whites. I plan on building a pen and rotating the rabbits around on the pasture like the chickens. Joel Salatin’s son, Daniel, has been raising rabbits from a very young age. He has been self selecting stock from his rabbits and has built up his own breed. I would love to bring that breed onto the farm someday.
I plan to someday add sheep to the mix. They would benefit the pasture by keeping more of the broad leaf grasses down. They will nibble down the invasive Canadian thistle and reduce the time it takes me to manually kill each plant I find. When the cattle graze through an area they keep away from the thistle for the most part, and when the grass around it is removed, the thistle thrives. If I don’t remove it in some manor the pasture could be taken over by it. One of the main concerns and reasons I’m not bringing sheep onto the farm this year is the pasture fencing. The perimeter fence on the farm is 3 strands, and interior fence is two. I would like to have at least one more fence line up and 3 more would be preferred. So, if I can find time and plan well for next season, sheep will be joining the mix.
One of the main focuses over the next few weeks is getting the garden into the ground. Our last frost day may well be just behind us and now is the time to get your hands dirt.

Farmer Justin

The Garden is Green

Emily and I have been planting all kinds of seeds into flats and sprouting them inside our greenhouse. This next week we plan on moving a large amount of these plants out to their permanent places. We are getting ready for our first CSA delivery June 13th. Click here to see our planned production. There are a few spots left for this seasons CSA if you have any questions send me an email and I would be happy to answer them.

The Lilacs are Blooming

My mother loves lilacs. I remember as a kid my Mom would stop at a hedge row a couple miles from the farm to pick some lilacs and bring them back home. The fragrance takes over the house. It makes me think of white bass fishing, another thing my mother loves. Now is the time to go catch them white bass, they are usually plentiful when the lilacs are blooming. Have a Happy Mothers day!

May 3, 2017
Two Years In The Books

I purchased the farm on April 30th of 2015. A lot of work has gone in to the farm over the past two years and I’m proud of the progress.
Grazing to success Day 731
I once heard somewhere that you will not accomplish what you expect to accomplish in one year, and that you will over accomplish what you look to achieve in five. With two years in the books and greener pastures ahead, I’m looking forward to the next three and beyond. A few weeks ago when I was on my way out to pick up four of the pigs, I’d seen a field that was green among the dirt fields. The field was planted last fall with winter wheat, a good cover crop. I thought to myself, I hope people recognize how the grass on The G Farm is greening up that same way. Not a week later I was glowing when someone had mentioned how green the farm had looked.
The secret is in the rotational grazing with multiple species. The cattle are key. By rotating my cattle I’m mimicking nature like when the mastodons and bison were moving across a range. The mega-fauna stuck close together, eating and trampling in some of the grass, leaving manure and urine behind to feed the dung beetles and other bugs. I have read that three years of rotating on pastures will make a world of difference. Having had the cattle for one and a half years, I have a little way to go to get the results that I’m looking for across the entire farm. I’m proud of the strides that have been made so far and look forward to what’s to come.

Day 1
Filled with enthusiasm and ignorance, I stepped foot on the farm and began planting apple trees. Later in 2015 I built the first chicken tractor for the farm and added 7 head of cattle. I also dabbled with some ducks and a few turkey.
Day 366
In 2016 optimism was in the air and my hopes were that I would be able to build up a farm to consumer enterprise in just one year. After a summer of hard work, the farm looks much cleaner and is more streamlined for the regenerative agriculture practices we exercise.

Farmer Justin

April 19, 2017
A Chickens Tale

In 2014, I began maple syrup making with 25 taps as my first step towards knowingly producing a farm income. Two years earlier I had built myself a backyard chicken coop. You could have 5 chickens in the Town of Menasha, according to their ordinances. Well, technicality you were allowed to have five pets and a backyard hen was included on the list. I went onto craigslist and looked for laying hens. I found someone selling trios and I thought how perfect, 3 would be a comfortable start for me. I drove out towards Freedom and found the farm. When I got there I hopped out and discussed with the seller my plan for purchasing these hens. He let me down gently by letting me know he was selling Trios, which I didn’t understand were a group of two hens and one rooster, used for breeding. But he was kind enough to put together a few hens he could part with and was happy to help start me my first flock.
I have heard that laying hens are the gateway farm animal. It was for me and is a great place to start self sustainability. They give you your own little production facility right in town, they help compost and eat the waste, bugs and help make a great fertilizer.
I believe we need more farmers to feed more families healthier and more diverse foods from our backyards and our local farms. Without having had chickens, I would not likely have made the dive into farming. So if you live in Appleton and want to make a difference, quickly email your city council and let them know you support a backyard flock. You can email all of the alder-persons here, or you can be seen by making your way to the 6th floor of City Hall by 7PM. The last update I’ve had on this was on April 12, so check the time.

Farmer Justin

April 12,2017
From One Season to Another

For the past three months I’ve been preparing taxes to make some side cash. There is no resting when you’re working to build a business, especially a farm! The days have been long and the weeks have been longer. My schedule has been mostly off the farm as I work 8am-4pm at my first job and 5-9pm at my second. From job two I rush home to do some farm work, sleep for a little bit, wake up early to do chores and head back to job one to start it all over again. My free time has consisted of Saturdays after 5pm and all day Sunday. During this time I’ve been trying to keep up with the chores and farm tasks. I’m thankful for my closest friends and family for their help.
With tax day just less than a week away I have been feeling a lot more like a farmer. This past weekend we worked in the garden prepping beds and planting hardy carrots, radish and kale. We also welcomed new additions to the family,baby chicks and pigs! I look forward to tax season coming to an end as I will be able to work more on the farm again. On Tuesday April 19th the Delivery days will be changed back to its normal scheduled day and will stay that way through the summer. Thank you for your patients.

Farmer Justin

April 5, 2017

I am excited to share with you some little secrets on how I keep The G Farm clean. With so much focus generated towards animal feed and whether or not they are eating GMO crops or have soy in their diets, we often forget about the chemicals that go into the processing. Did you know most chickens are soaked in bleach several times on their way through large processing plants? That’s right, bleach! They use these chemicals to prevent contamination. On our small farm we can use more environmentally friendly options.

My Mom and Sister are reps with Shaklee, the 0 carbon foot print company, and will be on site to explain how these products are beneficial on the farm and in your home. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and/or purchase items from the Farm store and Shaklee.

One of my favorite farmers is Joel Salatin. He is one of the many outspoken voices touting the product benefits in his operation. He uses Basic H, one of the original products from Shaklee for de-worming his livestock. If you currently use antibiotics on your livestock and don’t know where to turn, this workshop is for you. If your current cleaning products are harmful to the environment and you’re looking for an alternative, you should consider this workshop, too.

Spring is in full swing which means baby chicks and baby pigs will be arriving to the farm soon. This is a great time to stop by and see the full farm in operation while the animals are still small and cute. Bring your kids and take some pictures with the animals.

March 15, 2017
A Pork Share

A Great Way to Order Pork!
The G Farm features two packages of pork; The Family’s Share and The Farmer’s Share. Each bundled option offers a variety of quality cut pork at a discounted price, saving you time and money!

Our animals are raised on pasture and eat grass, pumpkins and other garden waste. They get plenty of exercise by rolling around in the mud, which improves the quality of the meat, as well as their quality of life.

Contrary to popular belief, pork is not a white meat. In 1986 the national pork board had made the move to compete with chicken instead of the American favorite, beef. The way pigs were being raised had also changed. Pigs were being taken out of the fields, put into barns and pens and brought food by conveyor belts. Successful farms were streamlining and specializing in one specific farm practice. Dairy farms were producing milk, while beef farmers produced beef and chicken farmers produced chicken.

When pigs are put into a sty on the grated floor and brought food on a conveyor belt, it takes a lot of work out of being a farmer. Believe me, it’s an appealing idea when you spend hours and days chasing the little porkers around. However, I don’t agree with the large scale farming practices. I believe in raising and delivering quality cared for products to my customers. My fencing challenges have improved but the work is never done. I plan to continue working hard in order to maintain happy pasture fed animals. By doing so I will be able to offer you and your family quality red pork that tastes better and is healthier, too!

Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin.
Farmer Justin

March 8, 2017
Raw Milk Laws
As a farm to consumer producer there can be red tape that that would cause a farmer to choose an easier way to make a buck. The laws on farmers can be strenuous and overwhelming and to help with that is a grope called The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. This group has a membership fee that gives access to lawyers and gives needed defense when situations may arise. It is like insurance but each case must pass the boards approval to be taken up by one of the lawyers.
Last week I reached out to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund to find out more about our state laws. I had understood before the phone call that Wisconsin would not allow for the sales of raw milk from the farm at all. To be clear, I had checked out their website to look at some other stuff and came across a map that showed that Wisconsin would allow the sales. This is what provoked me to make the call and request some additional information. A few days later I had received a call from Peter Kennedy, one of their to attorneys on raw milk sales. He affirmed the website was correct and I could sell raw milk.

Nothing says Wisconsin farm like a glass of milk, and the idea of having that as an available product excites me. Ive heard of some farmers producing and selling raw milk in the state that have a route, a CSA or cow share. None of these are legal. To have a contract between the farmer and the consumer is a great way to do business. It protects the consumer by having clear cut set standard that the farmer must adhere to in order to produce a clean product. The consumer knows what they are getting and if then the farmer does not adhere to the contract the farmer can be penalized, possibly through the court system. Its clear that the milk can be sold from the retail store on the farm, as I have majority ownership, but problem I see is the limited frequency, its quite ambiguous and the law states that sales have to be “incidental”. So what does that mean?

Last spring when the Post Crescent headlined The G Farm, From Taxes to Tillage I had made a few new friends. Not the kind that I see at my friend’s houses or at birthday parties. My state senator Rodger Roth had sent me note sharing that he had seen me in the paper. If a business is going to be successful it needs to be legal and my advocacy for loosening small farm laws is clear. I will be writing Senator Roth to find out more about issues dealing with this farm and some of the constraints I see as a small direct producer. Although, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission, I will request clarification on “incidental sales” and hope that it is broad enough to consider making a step towards Raw Milk on the farm.

Farmer Justin

March 1, 2017
Learning from others.

For those of you that are aspiring farmers, the toughest part of journey was starting. My first action in moving towards my goal of becoming a farmer was in the spring of 2014. That year I tapped about 20 sugar maple trees and cooked down enough to fill a few Snapple jars with syrup. I made 90 dollars doing it. Later that year I put a business plan together to see how many trees would need to be collected from in order to make a living, or at least get me into the woods and out of a tax office.

This past week I had the opportunity to go to the MOSES organic farming conference on a scholarship. I had written a response to three easy questions and submitted it to the program director back in December. The board reviews the submissions and discusses who will be accepted and who does not. My friend Carl was not so lucky. While preference is generally given to first timers, content is probably important too. Carl instead decided that volunteering for a hand full of hours to be part of the event was well worth the time.

Emily and I are looking to find a few people that would be interested in heading down and staying in the same hotel next year. There is a fair amount of time in the evenings that can be filled with our closer community. We would be happy to have a local round table in the evenings after the events. Networking is helpful in all fields and sometimes that happens with a beer. You probably wont hear me ask again, but if you are thinking about going, let us know

So Here are the three questions and the answers that saved me over 200 dollars.

What is your current involvement in farming?
I own and operate a small farm that I purchased in April of 2015 with no prior farm experience. I graze cows, pigs, chicken, turkey, and ducks on pasture. This spring I was displaced from my employer and made a go of farming knowing full well that there was a good change I would need to find work again. I tried to accomplish as much as humanly possible to get a healthy foot forward. I market directly to the consumer using the internet, email list, and highly visible road signs. I distribute the product weekly to the customer by delivery as well as weekend pickup on the farm. I have a great social media presence and share my progress with the growing community of local supporters.

How do you see yourself involved in farming in the future?
I am working to farm full time and will work relentlessly to those ends. I enjoy the problem solving that is involved with creating the business of the farm as well as the regenerative ecosystem. I am passionate about the animals and more so the benefits that they bring to the land when managed properly. I see potential everywhere on the farm and am working to help others create their own incomes on the farm. I do not see myself as a single farmer but part of a group of empowered individuals working towards a common goal.

How do you hope to benefit from your attendance at the MOSES Conference?
I attended last year and picked up countless tips and tricks from farmers that helped me in my decision making. I have also made many mistakes this past year that have been hard lessons learned. I think that attending the conference would give me more specific knowledge and training that I was unable to grasp as a first time attendee without any prior knowledge of many of the concepts.
without any prior knowledge of many of the concepts.

Farmer Justin

February 22, 2017
CSA Day 2017

Today is an extra ordinary day. It is the time of the year that the foodies and health conscious consumers choose their farmers for the season. And the CSA Day website has some great resources to help pick one out that’s right for you. As part of the national recognition of CSA Day you can do a helping part in sharing this on social media and use the #csaday. The website has a national directory for those that are participating. Gravel Road Farms over in Waupaca is doing some great work too. Ive crossed paths with them several times and saw the farm and greenhouse last winter. There are many other farms around that may be a good fit for you where ever you live.

Here are the top 5 reasons to Join a CSA Today.

Feeding myself and my family chemical-free produce. The pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming have been shown to be carcinogenic (cancer causing), and endocrine disruptors (aka your hormones). On a greater scale, this translates into increased mortality and morbidity within the community and the resulting medical expense and loss of labor.
Creating for yourself and the next generation an understanding of what real food is and the value of its production, which means better nutrition choices and health throughout your family’s life.
Taking that Big Ag industry from large corporations and putting those dollars, instead, into the local economy and local pockets.
The privilege of eating vibrant, just-harvested produce. If you’re a part of a CSA, say goodbye to wilted greens and tasteless tomatoes. Your produce will be harvested when it’s ripe and, in most cases, find its way into your kitchen within a day of being picked. This means better flavor and more nutrient-rich produce
The ability to get to know your farmers and develop a relationship of trust with those that nourish your family.

Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin

Farmer Justin

February 15, 2017
Product diversity all from The G Farm

Almost a year ago a journalist with the Tampa Bay Times began a series of articles that brought worldwide recognition to the food to table movement. She called the series From Farm to Fable. Laura Reiley writes on the topic regularly and this article was her big break. In the series she criticizes local restaurants for using product from outside the local market and without the organic labels they tout to their customers. At farmers markets Laura criticizes farmers for bringing product into the market that are not from the farms they represent.

This past week I have been asked on several occasions if the products from the farm are authentic .Yes, Each and every edible product is produced directly from the The G Farm. The Maple syrup is cooked down here on the farm in the sugar shack. The trees are taped in Manawa on my hunting land. My early ancestors made syrup but my Grandpa Gartzke and Dad had long forgotten about the production when the dairy operation became the main concern. The pastured chicken, pork, turkey and ducks are all raised on this property through the summer. The lush summer grass gives them the added foliage for consumption and they give back to the property by disturbing the soil and adding nitrogen with their waste. The cows and laying hens are here year round. Cows are the only animal that I breed. The others are brought in as day old chicks or feeder pigs. The garden is also grown on the property in Larsen. Emily is a huge part of this side of the farm. She brings experience, innovation an appreciated holistic approach. This farm is not looking to bring outside products to the farm to drive up sales. It produces foods seasonally. I surely don’t do everything. I do import grain for the chickens, turkey and pigs from a local farmer who has his own milling license. I do bring in minerals and hay to help keep up with the cows needs. And I am thankful to have a great network of farmers that are moving in a direction that will produce a healthier food for the animals and their consumers.

I have considered reselling a few select products to you but would label the items accordingly. The short list includes beef and honey. Beef is in high demand and this little farm cannot keep up. I will be butchering two cows this fall and four the following year. I have a few friends that sell their products that I have refereed customers of to, but have also considered buying from them and selling the beef retail to you. That would be in smaller portions. Honey is something I would like to have produced here but I have neighbors that have some large scale bee hives that are brought back and forth between Florida and Wisconsin. It can be risky to create a hive on this farm because of the proximity to the neighbors which may carry disease.
Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin

Farmer Justin

February 8, 2017
Coffee Concerns.

Each morning I wake up and get an early start on the day. Never had I ever thought to much about the morning cup of coffee that helps jump start my body in order to get those early morning tasks out of the way. I am not loyal to any one brand or brew, lately Ive been purchasing from my friends over at New Morning Coffee. They have been helping the farm supplying both burlap bags which we use to suppress weeds in the garden, and bags of chaff. This is a the bi-product from when the bean is taken out of the husk, the husk turns into a flaky mulch that we use around trees and add to our compost. It is rather acidic and good for mulching blueberries, but you have to be careful not to use to much because it can also prevent water from seeping to the roots. When it builds up to much it can act like a water repellent.

Recently Ive heard discussions on how coffee is one of the more heavily sprayed field crops. And I drink it daily. Why the heck have I not thought to drink organic coffee? Well I have deiced to make the switch. I hope that it still has its kick. I would add that I have started using organic teas too, and hope to in the future start collecting my own herbs and spices to make my own personal blends. I have a few recipes that I’ve been interested in for a while.

As for the use of the product from New Morning Coffee, I will have to ask them what kind of farming practices they understand are used. If these guys are as passionate about coffee as I am about the farm, they will know something about the process. I will have to research online to learn about the transfer of chemicals from the plant after its dried to the bag that we use in the garden to ensure that it is safe for me to use. The chaff is not a concern, it is broken down in the compost pile and the plants its mulching wont be in production for years.

Please let me know your thought on the matter, I would be interested to hear if your drinking Organic coffee? If you have used burlap bags or if you know of anyone who has?

Thanks for your input
Farmer Justin

February 1, 2017
Can we feed the world with Regenerative Agriculture? Maybe the US?

There are about 325 million American today with about 3.2 million farmers. This means that farmers are currently feeding at a rate of 105 persons per farmer. In the 1930’s the rate was drastically less. Each farmer at that point was feeding himself and three others. (source) With the go big or get out mentality of the 80s the push was on for an agriculture machine to push the limits to the max.

This brings to question how The G Farm production compares. To see how I did and my goals on a spread sheet Click Here. In summery 2016 produced 14 million calories and on a diet of 2500 per day that would feed just over 15 people. Some of the feed was produced outside of the farm and therefore would reduce this figure by a degree and there are other items that would increase the total that were not included like the maple syrup and fruit.

I am a full one of the persons fed from the farm. I estimate upwards of 70 percent of my food intake comes from right here. I also eat a heaping pile of food and often surprise those around me. When I watch the Packers games with friends they know to cook a little extra. And I am thankful for that.
When the farm is producing the full capacity of animals, and in full production the total could be upwards of 44 million calories. Again check out the spreadsheet to see my figures. This does not include the possibility of perch or ducks from the pond or honey from hives and nuts and berries from the trees and bushes. The garden could also expand and I have no idea to what size and scope.

To give a perspective corn produces about 13.9 million calories per acre. With only 14 tillable acres on the farm that would exceed the production on this farm by itself. On the other hand humans only consume 2.7 percent of this in the form of grits, corn flour, corn meal, and corn chips. Another 7.7 percent of the corn production goes into processed foods like corn starch, oil and high-fructose corn syrup. Thirty percent is used for ethanol and 43 percent us used to feed livestock and the remaining 15 percent are exported to other countries. These figures are from Mark Shepard’s book called Restoration Agriculture. One of my favorite books, and has played a major role in my transition to farming.

In the book Mark continues on to calculate that the effective calories per acre is a mere 3.06 million and on the same 14 tillable acres, producing 42,840,000 calories. This is just shy of the 44 million that I believe that can be produces in a healthy and diverse model of food production. Remember the 44 million production possibility is on the scale of 27.2 acres. And I estimate that it would feed just about 48 people each year. I have friends that have farm models that are similar and are scaled up to between 125 and 200 acres. These guys can feed some folks. In conclusion I do believe we can feed the world with Regenerative Agriculture, and I do believe an honest living can be made doing it.

Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin

Thank you,
Farmer Justin

January 18, 2017
Moving to Free Choice.

Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in this years Fishery on the Farm. And a special congratulation to Katie from Appleton bringing in a perch weighing .518 lbs.

One Very important note before we get too far is that I have begun an evening and weekend job through the tax season to help pay the bills and keep the dream alive. As a consequence Saturdays will be closed for on farm sales between now and at the latest April 15th. Tuesday Deliveries will be moved to Sunday afternoons. Thank you for understanding and I will update each of the web pages to coincide with the changes.

The cows have been part of the farm for 15 months now, and they are one of the most important parts of the farm. They are the the appropriate tool to manage the grass growth by increasing the organic material and progressing the soil health. By dispersing and distributing a large amount of the manure and urine themselves, this reduces my need to remove waste from the barn.

These ruminants are only eating grasses provided to them from the farm and a few neighboring fields that I have acquired hay from. And in eating only the forages from the area they are only getting the vitamins and minerals that are available from these fields. It would be ridiculous to think that every field has all of the nutrients that the animal needs to stay healthy so they have a nutrient block and a salt block in the pasture that they regularly lick. This helps the animals health and also redistributes those excess supplements to the pasture through their excrement. Not that this is bad for the animal, but the costs are exponential when supplementing a whole herd of cattle.

Cows are amazing animals and know exactly what they are lacking along with exact remedy. Apple tree leaves are high in calcium, particularly just after full bloom. A cow will take in those leaves to feed the nutritional needs they have if given the chance. This is one of the reasons The G Farm has so many plants planted in the pastures. They are small and have to be protected but will absolutely be beneficial to the animals down the road.

While these trees grow the pasture lacks many of the nutrients that the cattle would be unwilling to find naturally I have decided to move from a single block to what is called “Free Choice”. The cows will have 16 vitamins and minerals in a powder form along with a salt block for them to freely choose from. This is more cost effective and equally beneficial to the soil redistributing a more appropriate amount of the specific deficiencies in the soil.

What does this mean for you?
These animals will be nutrient packed and this is something that you can taste the difference in. Some of my best clients recognize this when they eat the chicken from the farm. Ive heard comments to the effect of this tastes like something I had when I was a kid, or This is the best Ive had in X amount of years. The chickens get to eat grass and that is not something that our industrial food system provides. Healthy food tastes better plain and simple.

To learn a little bit more about the supplements I have choose to use they are called Free Choice Enterprise Ltd.

Ive been receiving a few questions about the CSA that I feel were fantastic and I would like to share the answers with you. Please let me know if I have missed something else, I expect that your question is not the only one of its kind.

The First questions have to do with payment. We have decided to make a few options available, I understand a lump sum payment is not for everyone. So here are the breakdowns and time lines that we have come up with.

The Whole Share:
In full by April 1st $525 (a $75 dollar discount)
A breakdown 300 by April 1st and $100 by the first of June July and August.

The Half a Share
In full by April 1st $350 (a 50 dollar discount)
A breakdown of $200 by April 1st and $75 by the first of June and July with the last payment of $50 dollars by August 1st.

If you are waiting until the 1st of April to pay it is extremely helpful for us to have a verbal commitment to help facilitate our planing and adjust as needed. We have the capacity for 12 full shares this season so availability is limited. The main reason for upfront costs is due to necessary equipment and seeds that need to be ordered. This enables us to get an early start for the vegetables while its still cold out here in Wisconsin. We hope you understand.

Another question that has come up is the delivery and a potential pickup option.

We do not have any businesses we work with in the valley to have an option for pickup. We have decided to have an on farm pickup available on Mondays between 5pm and 7pm to those that live close. I will subsequently make the deliveries on Tuesdays between those hours for those that do not pick up the goods from the farm.

You can additionally have farm fresh eggs delivered as an add on only. The 20 weeks of eggs are regularly sold for 4 dollars a dozen and as a CSA option you can find Fresh Eggs at home for the Season at $60.

Thanks as always for following, sharing, and purchasing the goods of The G Farm. You truly make a substantial impact on our community, the food network and your health by doing so.

Farmer Justin

January 11, 2017
Who else is ready for some fresh Veggies?

I’m hope that I can explain our 2017 program to you with simplicity. And if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me and ask. I will in turn have to ask Emily as she is the boss when it comes to the Garden. For starters we are going to be bringing 20 weeks of produce to directly to your doorstep. The deliveries are available for those in the delivery area. You will be receiving your produce each Tuesdays after 5 pm. To see the list of produce and the weeks that we expect the products to be available you can click HERE.

This is our second season growing produce for market, we have each gardens for many years before for ourselves. We have gained the much needed experience in our first season working together (Emily and I) and we feel confident that you will have an exceptional value participating in our 2017 season. We have worked diligently with our CSA plan and do want to preface the experience with a disclaimer. We can not control the weather, nor the insects. We do not use any sprays, herbicides, pesticides or organic or inorganic. You will have a hard time finding a team working for you that is more natural in the growing process.

I will be announcing the add on CSA bundles in a follow up email in a few weeks.

We are also looking for a few people to work with us on occasion. This is an introduction to a program that we hope to continue called a “Work Share”. This opportunity will be ongoing through the season, planting, growing and harvest. Each 4 hours that you donate with you or your family, we would be happy to bring to you a weeks share of healthy vegetables. If you are interested please email me and I will add you to a secondary email list that will give you direct updates on opportunities for the work share as they become available. We will do our best to inform you approximately a week ahead of time, but emails may be spontaneous. Farming happens….

The G Farm attempts to bring you the highest quality produce in a way that you have not seen before. We are highly visible from the highway, on the internet, in our weekly emails and at our frequent events. If you want to be closer to where you food comes from, you have found the farm for you.

Thank you all for your continued support.
Farmer Justin

January 4, 2017
Happy 2017!
Hello Friends,

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable break from work and the regular routine. Through the holiday season most people eat a little more food than they regularly would, and at least have some change in their diet over the holidays. Over the last week Id gone out twice to have some food with friends at some local chain restaurants. I rarely go out to eat for several reasons. One, its not a priority, and any excess cash goes back into the farm. Two, what the heck am I eating. But yes balance is important and my friendships are valuable, so going out with folks means normalcy to an extent. Plus not many single ladies just come strolling along lost on the farm. So the social element plays a role.

Ive found it increasingly difficult to order food when I’m out. My morals feel so twisted when the plate comes out of the kitchen towards me. When I had ordered, I looked for the food that had the least meat, which was a little weird because I eat a lot of it. And I know that the vegetables may not be up to par either. Cutting costs is the nature of business. Its all about the profit margin, and if Tyson is able to sell their meat at a lower cost, than a wholesome chicken from a farm like The G Farm, and People buy it, why wouldn’t they. There is no face on the other end of that sale. They also raise so many more chickens and are able to reduce the gains needed on each bird to be profitable. So this leads me to eating a wrap or pasta, sometimes pizza. Thinking back on it, I should really eat something really expensive. Like a steak, At least Its from one animal in that case, and the restaurant is more likely to have cut less corners on the rest of the plated food then too.

So eat lots of chicken from The G Farm, or any local source that you know for that matter. Knowing where your food comes from, how its raised and supporting the healthy food revolutions does make a difference.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2017,
Farmer Justin